BY DAVID K. BERNARD
GOD CREATED HUMANS TO have fellowship with Him, but sin broke that relationship. God could have completely destroyed the human race because of their disobedience, but instead He established a plan of redemption to restore the broken fellowship.
Genesis 1-3 tells the story of the creation and fall of the human race, and it reveals that they are now under the curse of sin. Yet the same account also reveals that God has a plan of salvation to reverse all the power and effects of sin.
Even before sin intruded, we have an indication of God’s ultimate plan for humans. “God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis I :26). The image of God refers to God’s spiritual, moral, rational, and emotional nature. Unlike the rest of the physical creation, God created humans to be fully compatible with Him. As a result, God’s Spirit could ultimately come to dwell in them. Moreover, although human sinfulness temporarily thwarted this plan, God could one day become incarnate as a human in order to redeem fallen humans. By contrast, since rocks, plants, and animals weren’t created in the image of God, we can’t image God’s Spirit dwelling in them or God becoming incarnate in them.
Since God used the plural pronouns “us” and “our,” some have supposed God to be a plurality of persons. The Bible emphatically states, however, that God is one personal being. (See Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29; Galatians 3:20.) God performed the work of creation alone and by Himself (Isaiah 44:24). When the Bible records the fulfillment of God’s intention it reverts to the singular: “So God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). The image creature was one personal being and as such reflected the nature of his Creator.
In the context, then, it is easy to understand the plural as one of deliberation. As an analogy, when I make plans for my day 1 might say, “Let’s see … ” Literally, I’m saying, “Let us see,” but I’m not speaking or referring to another person. I’m simply using an expression to indicate deliberation. Similarly, God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1: 11). The plural usage indicates God’s intention, thoughtfulness, planning, and care when He created humans as the apex of His physical creation.
It is possible to discern a deeper significance in the plural usage. When God created Adam and Eve, He knew they would eventually fall into sin and thus thwart His plan. Why then did He proceed to create them? Because He also knew He would have a plan of redemption and thereby His original purpose in creating humans could still be fulfilled. Perhaps the plural signifies that God looked down through time, saw the Son to be born, and proclaimed that through Him the work of creation would finally be complete. Indeed, God would come in the flesh as the Son in order to redeem and restore His fallen creation. If so, Genesis I :26 would be a prophetic utterance of the one God, signifying that He created humans with the Son in view. In any case it wouldn’t be a conversation between two co-existent beings.
In short, although the Son was not bom until the fullness of time, God acted upon the basis of the Incarnation and the Atonement in the event of Creation. We are redeemed “with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you”(I Peter 1: 19-20). In God’s plan the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). Thus, God “made the worlds ‘literally, “the ages”-by His Son (Hebrews 1 :2). God created all things in dependence upon the future Son of God (Colossians 1:16).
We can become a new creature, a new creation, in Christ Jesus.
Put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” This prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. As a human He was miraculously conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew I: 18-20). He was not born from the seed of a man, but He was the seed of a woman. The devil seemingly won a temporary victory over Him by the Crucifixion. It was a nonlethal bruise, however, for Jesus rose from the dead to live forever. Through His death, burial, and resurrection He crushed the devil’s head. He won permanent victory over the devil and delivered us from the bondage of sin.
Now God’s redemptive plan can be implemented in our lives. We can become a new creature, a new creation, in Christ Jesus (II Corinthians 5: 17). Through Jesus, we can fulfill God’s original plan for the human race and inherit eternal life with Him.